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HER Number:MDV53058
Name:Wideboat Basildon, Tiverton


Former site of 'Basildon', a 1938 Hertfordshire wide boat. Destroyed in 2000.


Grid Reference:SS 962 123
Map Sheet:SS91SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishTiverton
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishTIVERTON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS91SE/353

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • WATERCRAFT (XX - 1938 AD to 2000 AD (Between))

Full description

Unatributed Sites and Monuments Register Entry (Unattributed Sites and Monuments Register Entry). SDV263.

'Basildon'. Built 1935, only survivor of three purpose-built barges for carrying bailed paper on the Grand Union Canal. Built by Walkers of Rickmansworth for Dickenson (Basildon Bond Paper Group) of Apsley.

Chaplin, T., 1978, Untitled Source, 15 (Monograph). SDV48794.

Thomas, V., 1991, Basildon (Unknown). SDV38852.

Basildon built in 1935, one of 3 purpose built to unusual dimensions by Walkers of Rickmansworth, for John Dickenson (Balisdon Bone Paper Group) for carrying bailed paper, 2 bails wide (across the barge) between their waterside factories on the Grand Union Canal.

The dimensions are 62ft by 8ft 2inches (not the usual 70ft by 6ft 10inches) to enable her to turn in front of the factories, so avoiding the need of a winding hole. Built of Oak sides with Elm bottom, she is also 1 plank shallower, than the normal narrowboat.

Newbury Boat Company bought Basildon and Shendish (one of the other 3 boats) together in 1970 as a job lot, selling on Shednish, which is now believed broken up (Note: the 3rd boat Nash is also believed to be broken up). Basildon was renamed Kennet Valley and was converted into a Horsedrawn Passenger Barge and worked on the Kennet and Avon Canal until 1978, when she was converted for general maintenance on the Kennet and Avon Canal by Newbury Boat Company until 1982, when she was of no more use, and gradually sunk which has helped to preserve her. In 1987 she was transported to the Grand Western Canal by the Grand Western Horseboat Company and donated to Devon County Council.

As Basildon has now been lifted out of the canal, it is Devon County Council's intention to try to obtain sponsorship and restore the barge, sufficiently for it to remain here as an interesting and informative example of a period in canal history.

Thomas, V., 1991, Untitled Source (Report - non-specific). SDV48788.

Oak sides with elm bottom. Measures 62 feet by 8 feet 2 inches and is one plank shallower than the normal narrowboat. Bought 1970 by Newbury Boat Company. Renamed 'Kennet Valley' and converted to horse drawn passenger barge for Kennet and Avon Canal. Converted for general maintenance work in 1978. Abandoned 1982 and gradually sunk. Transported to Grand Western Canal in 1987 by Grand Western Horseboat Company and donated to DCC. Restoration intended.

Ward, A. J. + Lacey, R., 1992, Untitled Source, 23 (Monograph). SDV48797.


Dick, A. M., 1994, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV48789.

Has been removed from the water and is now lying on edge of canal basin. Hull appears basically sound but is deteriorating and in need of attention. Photograph.

Collings, B. J., 1994, Untitled Source (Correspondence). SDV48790.

Built by Bushell's of Tring. Mr. Collings thinks the fore end and stern end top bends were light grey (contra Dickinsons usual livery), when he saw her in traffic in 1950s/60s.

Unknown, 1999, Basildon in 1990s (Ground Photograph). SDV357423.

Zeepvat, B., 2000, A Detailed Survey of Wide Boat Basildon, Tiverton, Devon (Report - Survey). SDV48792.

Built 1938 by Bushell of Tring. The last survivor of a fleet of four wide boats. The other three built by Walker of Rickmansworth. Bought by Benham & Fisher in 1970 for use as horse-drawn trip boat on Kennet and Avon Canal. Conversion included blanking-off the stern well in which the outboard motor had been located. Became a canal maintenance boat in 1978. Allowed to sink in 1982 to preserve hull. Bought by Grand Western Horseboat Company in 1987. By 1990 she had sunk at her moorings. See report for full details.

Zeepvat, B., 2001, Basildon and the Dickinsons' Mill Boats, 71-73 (Article in Serial). SDV348594.

Wessex Archaeology, 2003, Blundells Road, Tiverton, Devon: Archaeological Desk Based Assessment, 9, 20; figure 2 (Report - Assessment). SDV345760.

Site WA 36.

Exeter Archaeology, 2006, Archaeological Assessment on Land at Exeter Hill Tiverton, Devon, 5; Figure 5, no2 (Report - Assessment). SDV351653.

Unknown, unknown, Risen from a Watery Grave (Article in Serial). SDV8019.

In the tranquillity of the wharf end of the Grand Western Canal, overlooking the town, what is left of a boat built to carry bales of paper between Croxley, Nash and Apsley Mills [in Hertfordshire] has lain almost entirely submerged to preserve her timbers for the past three years.

She has now been lifted from the water for her hull to be inspected, with a view to full restoration. She is one of three boats purpose built in 1935 by Walkers of Rickmansworth [Hertfordshire] for John Dickinson and Co Ltd. They were designed to be wider than narrowboats to accommodate two bale widths and eight feet shorter so that they could turn without winding holes in the Grand Union Canal. Each was powered by an outboard motor. Built of oak sides with an elm bottom, they were also one plank shallower than a normal narrowboat.

The Basildon came to the end of her working life in 1970 and was bought by Newbury Boat Company. She was renamed Kennet Valley and converted into a horse drawn passenger barge. In 1982 she became redundant again and was submerged to preserve her timbers. Five years later the Grand Western Horseboat Company based at Tiverton, learned of her existence and decided she must be preserved. She was transported by road to Devon and submerged again.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV263Unattributed Sites and Monuments Register Entry: Unatributed Sites and Monuments Register Entry.
SDV345760Report - Assessment: Wessex Archaeology. 2003. Blundells Road, Tiverton, Devon: Archaeological Desk Based Assessment. Wessex Archaeology Report. 54068.01. A4 Stapled + Digital. 9, 20; figure 2.
SDV348594Article in Serial: Zeepvat, B.. 2001. Basildon and the Dickinsons' Mill Boats. Waterways World. Unknown. 71-73.
SDV351653Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 2006. Archaeological Assessment on Land at Exeter Hill Tiverton, Devon. Exeter Archaeology Report. 06.19. A4 Stapled + Digital. 5; Figure 5, no2.
SDV357423Ground Photograph: Unknown. 1999. Basildon in 1990s. Devon County Council Conservation Section Photo Archive. Digital.
SDV38852Unknown: Thomas, V.. 1991. Basildon. A4 single Sheet + Digital.
SDV48788Report - non-specific: Thomas, V.. 1991. Basildon. Unknown.
SDV48789Personal Comment: Dick, A. M.. 1994.
SDV48790Correspondence: Collings, B. J.. 1994. Letter to SMR. Letter.
SDV48792Report - Survey: Zeepvat, B.. 2000. A Detailed Survey of Wide Boat Basildon, Tiverton, Devon. Archaeological Services & Consultancy Report. M/WBB98/2. A4 Spiral Bound.
SDV48794Monograph: Chaplin, T.. 1978. The Narrow Boat Book. Unknown. 15.
SDV48797Monograph: Ward, A. J. + Lacey, R.. 1992. The Canal: Tring - Rickmansworth in Camera. Photocopy. 23.
SDV8019Article in Serial: Unknown. unknown. Risen from a Watery Grave. Photocopy + Digital.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV2841 - Unnamed Event
  • EDV2842 - A Detailed Survey of Wide Boat Basildon, Tiverton, Devon
  • EDV2843 - Unnamed Event
  • EDV2844 - Drawn Record
  • EDV2849 - Unnamed Event

Date Last Edited:Nov 22 2018 10:30AM